LEGAZPI CITY: After the Mayon volcano eruptions, the water in Albay is no longer safe for drinking and bathing, Oscar Dominguez, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional director in Bicol, said during the meeting at the Office of Civil Defense at Camp General Simeon Ola here.
“We have good air quality but water quality is totally suspended and not fit for bathing and drinking,” Dominquez said.
The Mines Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR–Bicol conducted water sampling in nine water bodies on January 23 within the affected areas of the volcanic eruption and found that pH level there was higher.
The nine areas tested were Nasisi River in Barangay Batang, Ligao City; Barangay Buang in Tabaco City; Cabilogan River in San Francisco River, Banao, Guinobatan and Kabang Creek, Barangay San Rafael, Guinobatan town; Iraya River in Camalig town; San Vicenter River/Tuliu creek in San Vicente and San Antonio Tabaco; Cagbulawan river and Basud river in Barangay San Jose, Malilipot town; Basud River in Santo Domingo and Yawa River in Busay, Daraga town.
The study found that exposure to pH values greater than 11 results in irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membrane. Solutions of pH 10-12.5 have been reported to cause hair fibers to swell. Among sensitive individuals, pH levels of 10 causes gastrointestinal irritation.
Exposure to low pH values can have damaging effects. Below pH4, redness and irritation of the eyes have been reported, the severity of which increase with decreasing pH.
Below pH 2.5 exposure leads to damage to the epithelium results and extensive exposure at pH 10 can affect the degree of corrosion of metals as well as disinfection efficiency and may have an indirect effect on health, the study said.
It said that volcanic eruption can have both a cooling and warming effect on the planet’s climate; run out of pyroclastic density currents, pyroclastic falls, lahars, gases, ash plumes and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice of Mayon volcano.